I have reviewed both photography and general computer related software and hardware on my website. My reviews are often along the lines of what it is like to use the product. They are rarely about the technical specs. I find those kinds of reviews to be more along the lines of what most people are seeking. The technical specs can be found on the manufacturer's product literature if the reader wants that information.
Name: Forest & Main Brewing
Location: Ambler, Pennsylvania
Beer to try: No Name, No Name At All
Notes: Taproom open for pints, flights, growler fills, merchandise and bottles & cans to go. Indoor and outdoor dining on the patio and lawn. Outside food not allowed. Only service animals allowed. Metered street parking.
We were in Pennsylvania to attend a wedding. My cousin's daughter, Christal, was marrying a man, Greg, she had known since elementary school, but they had only become close a few years after she completed graduate school. The wedding venue was almost two hours from home. I convinced Bhavana to get a hotel room so we could spend the night.
A few months earlier, we took a road trip to Hollow Earth Brewing and Tired Hands Brewing. We had fun being "craft ale tourist". Convincing Bhavna that we could have lunch at a brewery before returning to New Jersey was not easy. She loves trying new ales as much as I do. I shared my plans with a co-worker who suggested we try Forest & Main in Ambler. From the online menu, it seemed that this would be an excellent weekend to visit the brewery. The weather was expected to be cooler -- but not cold -- and they had some new ales on tap.
My sister-in-law, Christelle, called the night before and begged. My brother was not attending the wedding -- he's working on a project in Charlotte -- and she didn't want to drive the distance alone. I agreed to pick her up after work (Friday), and we would drive together. Based on my schedule, we had a 90-minute drive, time to checked-in to the hotel suite, shower, change, and grab a snack with an arrival just fifteen minutes before the start of the wedding.
The wedding was an outdoor evening affair in the garden at the William Penn Inn in Blue Belle, Pennsylvania. Christal and her husband Greg exchanged vows as the sunset behind them. It was simple, classic and beautiful.
Apple's iPhone mapping app is fantastic. I love it. A few years ago, many people made fun of Apple when they ditched Google as the provider of their mapping data. However, Apple and its mapping partners have worked to improve Maps to the point where I no longer have doubts. It just works. I pulled up the address for Forest & Main and realised that it was only a few miles south of the hotel, in Ambler, Pennsylvania. Checkout was at 11 AM, so we arrived at Forest & Main around 11:30 AM. Just in time for lunch.
I ordered house-cured and a salad with local greens in a beer vinaigrette. Bhavna had the house-cured pickled veggies. But we were here for the beer.
Climbing up the stone walkway of this renovated Victorian home in Ambler's downtown, I noticed the hop vines that seemed to be consuming the brewery. Maybe it was intentional, or perhaps it merely meant to provide ambience, but the vines provided shade for the squeaky yellow clapboard porch at the front of the house. Several people, some families, were sipping pints and nibbling bacon-glazed popcorn over chessboards. Yes, this was what I wanted. I imagined Bhavna and myself living in a town in an apartment above some retro style apothecary. We would work from home and spend our evenings sitting on the lawn sipping ales and chatting with others like. We could be 50-year-old millennials.
Name: Tired Hands Brewing Fermentaria
Location: Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Beer to try: Daydreaming of Indiscriminate Human Extinction
Notes: Fermentaria offers up to 12 beers on tap. Tap open for pints, flights, growler fills (Tired Hands growlers only), merchandise and bottles & cans to go. The food menu features tacos, ceviches and composed plates, under the direction of head chef Bill Braun, who also helms our brew cafe. Outside food not allowed. Only service animals allowed. Parking lot located next to the brewery.
This place is much bigger than Hollow Earth Brewing. Much bigger. We sat at one of the high chairs. The restaurant has a very "hipster" vibe. Bhavna and I ordered four-ounce pours of ale. I had four IPAs. My favourite was the Alien Church.
We had hoped to bring some of the beer back to New Jersey but we soon learned that Tired Hands will only fill beer in their branded growlers. Our server offered to trade our Troon Brewing growlers for one of theirs. But ... Bhavna and I have an emotional attachment to the unique design of the Troon growlers.
I asked if they offered cans and was told yes. But ... not the ones we had just had. Sigh. We left the Fermentaria and walked down the street toward the brewery store. I've never seen anything like this for a brewery. The store was designed like the inside of a Banana Republic.
We bought one stem and one stemless glass and a four-pack of Hop Hands.